New Equipment and Tech in the Classroom

September 13, 2018

UF/IFAS ABE has introduced a new initiative this year that allows teaching faculty to request funds to support their teaching efforts. A total of $4000 has been made available through departmental funds for an annual competitive, peer-reviewed teaching support mini-grant of up to $1000. An emphasis is placed on requests that focus on improving in-class instruction through teaching aides, demonstrations, software and more.

Four proposals were chosen for this award in fall 2018 and were submitted by Drs. Pelletier and Pullammanappallil, Dr. Lee, Dr. Watson and Dr. Burks.

Dr. William Pelletier and Dr. Pratrap Pullammanappallil submitted a proposal for ABE 3652C: Physical and Rheological Properties of Biological Materials and ABE 4812C: Food and Bioprocess Engineering Unit Operations for an adapter and accessory to complete their system for rheological measurements. Last year, they acquired a top of the line rheometer to study fluid behavior (viscosity, yield stress, etc.). Without the requested equipment, Dr. William Pelletier and Dr. Pratrap Pullammanappallil’s systems require very large sample volumes (sometimes difficult to obtain) and also can only measure viscosity and the influence of time and spindle speed. With the additional adapter and accessory, their systems will now allow our students to measure torque, shear rate and temperature.

Dr. Daniel Lee requested an iPad to be used in AOM 4434: Precision Agriculture, which has been upgraded with state-of-the-art GPS receivers to accommodate maximum of 40 students. To complete the system, an iPad would be needed to communicate and record GPS data from the receiver.

Dr. Adam Watson submitted a proposal for a black globe thermometer and anemometer for lab exercises in AOM 4642: Environmental Systems for Agricultural Structures. Students in this class are taught how to read and solve problems using the psychrometric chart; however, a black globe thermometer and anemometer allows students to take measurements in real world conditions and apply tools taught in class like the psychrometric chart to calculations using data they have collected.

Dr. Tom Burks requested the purchase of eight digital multi-meters for ABE 6031: Instrumentation in Agricultural Engineering Research to be used in demonstrations and assigned laboratory experiments. In addition, he requested the purchase of four copies each of two books to be made available to students as “Laboratory Copies” for National Instruments Labview and Multisim programming guides.

ABE looks forward to using this equipment and technology to continually improve teaching efforts throughout our department.

Dr. William Pelletier is a Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida. Dr. Pelletier specializes in heat and mass transfer in postharvest and other cold chain applications as well as transport operations associated with perishable product.

Dr. Pratap Pullammanappallil is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida. Dr. Pullammanappallil specializes in bioprocess design, modeling, control and optimization; wastewater and solid waste management, treatment and disposal; and environmental biotechnology.

Dr. Wonsuk "Daniel" Lee is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida. Dr. Lee specializes in sensing systems, precision agriculture, farm automation, Global Positioning System (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), image processing, machine vision, yield monitoring/mapping, variable rate fertilizer application, instrumentation, machinery and agricultural mechanization.

Dr. Adam Watson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida. Dr. Watson specializes in agribusiness, economics, farm management, supply chain management, food systems and postharvest technology.

Dr. Tom Burks is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida. Dr. Burks specializes in agricultural machinery systems, robotics, machine vision, neural networks, precision agriculturea and instrumentation.